Today (Saturday) is the winners parade for Rio carnival, finishing off the carnival week that started on Monday with the opening parades. It feels like the city is in meltdown. All my friends that have been living in Rio for the past week seem like wrecks. It’s not too surprising, there just never seems to be an end to the parties. Although most Carnival packages only run from Monday to Friday there are plenty of parties and parades still to be had going into the weekend and which will carry on next week. Plus, Rio has pretty much been the hottest place in the world over the last two weeks. Well, I say hottest, it’s actually been the second hottest, only beaten by Ada, a small town in Eastern Ghana. Recorded temperatures were 40 degress, though the lack of wind made it seem like 50 degrees. Right now I am doing an impression of an exasperated tap and it’s only 32, I can’t imagine what it was like last week, but I’m guessing it probably felt like you were really hot flannel that constantly needed wringing out.
I’m also certain this is probably one of the worst times ever to go to Rio. Maybe there are non-stop parties to choose from, and a ridiculous amount thereof, as well as constant parades and soundsystems going through the streets, but the thieves are also on the warpath. One of the hostels, Che Lagarto, got robbed two nights ago by 8 thieves with guns. Last night, down the road from the club I went to a man was stabbed to death. I also spoke to two people in the hostel I stayed in last night who were robbed by tiny children carrying broken bottles in the streets of Lapa. With so many drunk gringos carrying money around it’s a complete haven for the poorer factions of Rio.
The fact that I’ll be staying in Lapa then, where all of these things happened, for the next couple of nights might not seem too smart then. I’ve never had any trouble though and am pretty certain that if you don’t get into such a state that you can easily be robbed and generally don’t walk around with some ridiculously bad Hollyoaks-style caption-led t-shirt, while mouthing loudly in an American accent, that you won’t get robbed.